Wacky things to see worldwide

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Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville

This museum traces the history of the Texas prison system since 1848. The permanent exhibit on capital punishment features "Old Sparky," the electric chair that dispatched 361 prisoners from this mortal coil between 1924 and 1964. Another exhibit displays prison contraband, including many of the weapons that prisoners made over the years. The prison hardware exhibit displays classic tools, such as the ball and chain. You'll find photos of exhibits at Txprisonmuseum.org. (Adults pay $4 per person; children ages 6 to 17 pay $2 each.)

Toilet-themed restaurants in Taiwan...

Marton is a small chain of themed restaurants in Taiwan. Each one offers plates shaped like toilet bowls and tables shaped like bathtubs. Many of the seats are shaped like toilets, too. Top orders are curry hot pot, curry chicken rice, and scoops of chocolate ice cream. Prices for dishes range from $5 to $8. See photos here. Locations are in the capital city of Taipei and the second-largest city, Kaohsiung. Apparently the name Marton resembles matong, the local word for toilet.

A famous landfill in Singapore

In July 2005, the Singapore government opened the Semakau Landfill to tourism. Pulau Semakau is a man made island built from compacted garbage incinerator ash and several existing islands. It’s the width of about 20 football fields. Visits are organized by local groups. For example, the Nature Society of Singapore organizes bird-watching trips to the landfill because it lures rare migrant birds, such as the Chinese egret and the oriental pratincole, as well as the more common Malaysian plover. (Day-long trips cost $16 per person; Details here.) In June, the Sport Fishing Association of Singapore will offer another of its periodic fishing trips to the landfill because fish like to feast on the mineral-rich waters around the landfill. (Trips cost $25 per person, bring your own gear and tackle; Details here.) It’s strictly catch-and-release; you can’t keep the fish to eat. In case you were already thinking it, USA Today has made the joke about the “rich natural environment.” (See here.)

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